Hugh Dennis, actor, comedian, writer, impressionist and star of ‘Outnumbered’ and ‘Mock the Week’, is a talented and captivating after dinner speaker and awards host, and is currently writing and presenting Radio 4′s award winning comedy ‘The Now Show’. His partnership with Steve Punt is legendary in the comedy world.
Background and career
While in his final year of university, by this time an active member of the Cambridge Footlights, Hugh was approached by a member of the intelligence services and invited to London for interview. At this point he decided not to take the matter further, although he often makes jokes or references to his days as a ‘spy’. After originally working as a brand manager for Unilever, Hugh turned a talent for impressions to better use and started providing voices for Spitting Image. He then became a regular guest on the Jasper Carott Show and joined the team on The Mary Whitehouse Experience, before his performing career kicked off in 1985 when he became one half of double act Punt and Dennis, with Steve Punt, with whom he still tours the UK.
His radio work with Punt includes over a decade of performing Punt and Dennis, It’s Been a Bad Week, The Party Line and the currently running satirical radio comedy show, The Now Show. On The Now Show he is in a line-up including Punt, Mitch Benn, Laura Shavin, Jon Holmes and Marcus Brigstocke. He is friends with Chris Morris and has had cameos on Brass Eye. He has also done the narration for the CBBC show Sam and Mark’s Guide To Dodging Disasters.
In December 2009, Hugh joined Oz Clarke in presenting the 60-minute Christmas special Oz and Hugh Drink to Christmas broadcast on BBC Two. In December 2010 the pair returned for a four-part series called Oz and Hugh Raise the Bar, which puts them in a competition to create a bar featuring only local British food and drinks.
He has starred in a number of sitcoms, including My Hero in which he played obnoxious GP Piers Crispin. From 2007 to 2014 he starred in Outnumbered, a semi-improvised sitcom based around family life and won a BAFTA nomination in the comedy category for the 2009 Christmas special. Hugh is a regular panellist on Mock the Week and has appeared in every episode since its inception. He is a regular guest on various BBC-broadcast comedy panel game shows such as They Think It’s All Over, Would I Lie To You?, QI and has guest hosted Have I Got News for You. In 2011, he hosted the short-lived improvisational comedy series Fast and Loose. Hugh alongside Julia Bradbury hosted a four-part BBC One documentary series The Great British Countryside, which began airing on 16 February 2012
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Matthew Willetts MA is the Director of Comicus who has over 35 years experience in television, film, theatre, and comedy club/cabaret entertainment, working as a performer, screenwriter, producer and agent. He lectured at Southampton Solent University in Comedy, Screenwriting, Television, Theatre & Radio. Matthew can sometimes be seen and heard on TV & Radio and often quoted in the national press and media publications. As well as speaking regularly at festivals and industry conferences, he has been a judge at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Montreux Television Festival.
Some reviews of Hugh Dennis
Hugh was a great Awards host and his pitch was just right. He took time during the briefing to understand our business and was able to incorporate some really funny industry insights into his opening slot. He followed the brief, kept the evening running to time and was very sociable with the audience. Everyone loved him.
He was brilliant and a perfect choice for the awards. This event is always the more challenging of our two award shows as its senior management and these people go to this type of event a lot however Hugh really did his homework on the company and industry which really paid off. He was also incredibly easy to work with and very laid back.
Hugh seemed to go down a storm, he was getting lots and lots of laughs when he did his 20 mins free-style at the beginning. He checked some content with us before-hand, which was sweet, as we don’t usually have that. He was respectful of the awards and the script, and kept to it very tightly! He was a joy to have on the table and they enjoyed his company.